The global apparel industry faces many complex challenges. The world is gearing up for a clean energy transition, guided by the first universal agreement on climate change. Political instability and sectarian violence in sourcing countries continue to pose risks to supply continuity, while free trade agreements are altering the sourcing footprint. Globally, businesses are taking action to align their corporate responsibility efforts with the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals, while stakeholders – from investors to consumers – are pushing for more transparency.
As one of the world’s largest apparel companies, we recognize our responsibility to lead and continuously seek new ways to address the pressing social and environmental challenges facing the industry. In 2013, we introduced a new approach to CR centered on driving positive impacts from Source to Store, with a focus on empowering people, preserving the environment and supporting the communities where we work and live. In 2015, we built upon that framework to develop a more comprehensive CR strategy that addresses the social and environmental issues that most affect our business – from building safety to environmental pollution.
As Chief Risk Officer, my focus is to ensure that our CR efforts help us both to manage risk and maximize opportunities. I feel strongly about activating the passion and power of our associates so together we can drive meaningful change. I am encouraged to see our associates increasingly embrace not only the importance of CR but also how it creates value for our business.
We continue to build on our 25-year commitment to human rights, which extends back to the first publication of A Shared Commitment, our code of conduct for business partners, in 1991. We seek to move beyond compliance in our supply chain by partnering with suppliers to promote safe labor conditions and undertake projects to improve the lives of workers in our supply chain, whom we view as an extension of our associate population. Not only is this the right thing to do but it also helps prevent human rights violations, safety incidents and supply chain disruption, which are significant risks to our business.
We are also building on our Core Values by further focusing on inclusion and diversity, with a vision to create an environment where every individual is valued. I am proud to play a role in PVH’s commitment to gender equality, which we recently reinforced by signing the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles.
We have also expanded our environmental sustainability commitment and are conducting deeper analyses of our impacts. This will lay the foundations for future strategies and targets, underpinned by continuous innovation, collaboration and best practice thinking. We are beginning to engage with suppliers deeper in our supply chain to cut the social and environmental impacts of the materials we use in our products.
Across our organization, we will continue to reduce our carbon footprint by lowering energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. We are using more sustainable materials and less packaging. And we are strengthening our chemical management program, as we continue to support our industry’s push to phase out harmful chemicals.
Finally, to fulfill our philanthropic mission to support the needs of women and children, we continue to maintain long-term partnerships with local organizations and encourage collaboration among our brands.
Looking forward, we are excited to build on our strategy with measurable targets and action plans. We also realize that we cannot achieve our ambitious goals on our own, and we will continue to embrace and engage with associates, suppliers, governments, non-profits and other stakeholders to effect change. I look forward to sharing more about our CR journey and welcome your feedback at every step along the way.
"As one of the world’s largest apparel companies, we recognize our responsibility to lead and continuously seek new ways to improve our CR impact."
- Melanie Steiner
Chief Risk Officer